As a cultural beacon and home to such organizations as the UNESCO, Geneva has more than its fair share of history and museums.
Amongst them is the Musée Ariana, aka the Swiss Museum of Ceramics and Glass, which houses over 20,000 objects from the last 1,200 years. Originally built to house the private collection of Gustave Reviliod in 1877, it was eventually donated to the city in 1890 with complete renovations done in 1993.
Of course, what kind of insider would I be if that was all? Really, the Ariana Museum is one of the key attractions. So let me offer you two secrets:
Nestled amongst the colonnades (each one is different), the Comptoir Gourmand offers simple dishes served up by students of the illustrious Ecole Hôtelière de Genève, and managed by the Restaurant Vieux-Bois!
What? A bell? Yes. A bell. A 1-ton Japanese bell sits in the Ariana Museum gardens, with an interesting, checkered history. Gustave Reviliod “discovered” it in the Rüetschi foundries in canton Aarau, with no explanation of where it came from, and how it got to Switzerland… At one point some Japanese dignitaries were visiting and recognized the bell as one lost after a fire in the Honsen-ji temple in Shinagawa, ca. 1867. Switzerland returned the bell in 1910, and in 1991 a replica was offered and sent back to be suspended in the Ariana Gardens, where it was first rediscovered.
Happy adventuring, and shhh… don’t tell everyone!